Retaining Top Legal Talent at a Company or Law Firm

Since the pandemic, the job market has shifted significantly. Candidates still compete with each other to get the best jobs, but more and more, the real competition is between employers competing with each other to get the best talent. In short, it is a candidates’ market.   

When companies or law firms can retain the top talent that they already have, it gives them an edge. Keeping talent helps create a secure environment within the organization and is a significant factor in building and maintaining company culture. Furthermore, companies and firms that can retain the talent they already have don’t have the high cost of continually training new employees and the lost productivity that naturally occurs during that training period.   

Keeping Top Talent in Today’s Competitive Market 

Money isn’t everything, but when it comes to keeping your best legal minds, it is, in fact, very important. Compensation within the firm needs to be both competitive and attractive. In addition to good salaries, legal professionals are attracted to firms that offer various perks and bonuses.   

During the pandemic, many lawyers who were previously putting in long hours in the office and being away from their families were suddenly working at home – and they’ve gotten used to this and enjoyed it. Legal professionals are looking for work-life balance. Firms that offer more flexible work options such as work from home and hybrid arrangements will find they have an easier time keeping their best people.   

Additionally, firms that invest in their people through professional development and mentorship opportunities will have an advantage in retaining talent compared to those that do not. Young legal professionals are looking for opportunities that will allow them to grow and advance in their careers, and firms that wish to keep those professionals would do well to pay attention to that. 

Providing Better Work-Life Balance 

The primary goal of law firms is to provide exemplary service to their clients. Unfortunately, this usually means long work hours and sometimes seemingly impossible targets for their associates. However, with only so many hours in a day, employee burnout becomes a real threat.   

Firms can counteract this by exploring alternative fee models. For example, instead of billables being based on hours, a fee-for-service model could save clients’ money while shielding their employees from crazy work hours.   

Law Firms vs. In-House Counsel or Quasi Legal Roles 

Companies that employ in-house counsel and quasi-legal positions have an advantage over law firms when it comes to maintaining work-life balance and retaining talent. Law firms naturally place more pressure on their associates because associates must work with multiple clients and multiple partners, all of whom have their expectations for quality work. To add to this pressure, when associates hit the 3–5-year level, they must start thinking about their partnership prospects and the course that their career will take.   

With in-house and quasi-legal roles, there is still pressure to perform, but there is only one client – which can be a game-changer. Instead of having a hyper-focus on putting in hours, the focus becomes doing an excellent job. Because of this, it is often much easier for companies to retain their in-house counsel and quasi-legal roles than for private law firms to keep their associates.   

With all of the pressure facing legal professionals in private law firms, they must take steps to retain their talent, including offering competitive compensation, flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities and work-life balance.  

Contact Life After Law Today 

Whether you are searching to hire associates or partners for your firm or legal talent for your company, Life After Law can help. Our unique search process has led to a proven track record that speaks for itself. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.